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Community mental health services' progress stagnating

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Community mental health services Community mental health services are showing little year on year improvement

There has been little overall improvement to the provision of mental health services in the community, a survey by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has revealed.

The survey of over 13,000 people in 2016 found that 35% reported that their overall experience of care was poor, similar to the results in 2015 (36%) and 2014 (34%). Additionally, 32% said that did not know who to contact during out of office hours if they have a crisis. However, 24% of those people who tried to get in touch with the out of office hours contact because their condition was getting worse, said they did not get the help they needed during a mental health crisis, compared with 21% for 2014.

‘There are around 1.7 million people across the country who are currently being funded by the NHS, for treatment for a mental health condition in the community funded by the NHS. These services are vital in supporting their recoveries and preventing their conditions from deteriorating,’ said Dr Paul Lelliott, lead for mental health at the CQC. ‘While the survey results highlight many positive aspects of care, I am deeply concerned by the lack of improvement overall in Trusts in England.'

The survey’s findings were not universally negative. Around three-quarters (74%) of respondents said that they were ‘always’ treated with respect and dignity, while 76% reported that they had been told who was in charge of organising their care and services. Of these people, 97% said they knew how to contact this person, if they had a concern.

‘Providers of community mental health services must now take the time to review what they have said and to act on any areas of concern,’ added Dr Lelliott. ‘I have written to the four providers that have been identified as performing worse than other providers within the survey for their reassurance on what they propose to do in response.’

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